America’s disabled veterans answered our country’s call and when their time in uniform is done, our country must stand with them. One of the key issues all veterans face is making the transition to a civilian career, and for veterans who need extra medical attention this can be even more difficult.
Last week, I filed bipartisan legislation with my colleague Congressman Chris Gibson to expedite protected medical leave eligibility for disabled veterans. Congressman Gibson served in the Army for 24 years and completed four combat tours in Iraq, and I’m proud to work with him on this critical issue. Our bill, The Medical Leave for Disabled Veterans Act, has a straightforward goal that the American people overwhelmingly support: helping working disabled veterans receive health care and provide for their families.
Under current law, disabled veterans — as well as all other workers at businesses with over 50 employees — become eligible for job-protected unpaid medical leave only after they have been employed for a year under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Given that disabled veterans often have additional health care needs, this can make working difficult. This problem was brought to my attention by a constituent, who shared his story with my office. As we did more research and spoke with veterans advocates, it became clear this was a major problem across the state and nationwide. While many employers do the right thing and provide flexible schedules for disabled veterans, I felt that it was important to provide all disabled veterans with a solution that would help them have access to medical leave.
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